The first bill is a bill issued by the Allied Powers. This bill, an Italian Lira, was part of a series of bills called Allied Military Currency. The British and Americans printed this type of currency together and issued it in newly liberated/defeated countries. It was used by Allied troops and citizens after a successful takeover and subsequent occupation of an area. These notes not only allowed Allied and American soldiers to spend money in nations, but also were made to help support the occupied nation’s rare and devalued banknotes. In the end, Allied Military Currency was not only printed in lira, but also franc, kroner, mark, schillings, and yen.
Look at the front and back side of the Allied Military Currency 1 Lira note from 1943 (first image below) . Notice that four freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear) are on the reverse (second image below). Notice that the bills are printed in blue, red, and white-the colors of both Britain and America-and also are in English. Compare it to the 10 Dieci lire note from 1939 (last image below) that was prevalent in Italy before the war (also picked up by Jake Orf in Italy). This note, printed right before the war, sends a completely different message. This bill supports the kingdom of Italy and showcases a picture of Victor Emmanuel III, the king. Notice that he is depicted wearing a military uniform as Marshall of Italy.
Both bills clearly indicate who is in charge and the political ideologies each represent. Italians that used these bills would no doubt pick up on these subtle messages.
Do you think Allied Military Currency made a difference in spreading the message of the Allies and spreading their political ideologies? Can you think of other everyday items, such as money, that could be useful in such total war situations?